A father who wants nothing to do with their unborn baby should step up and become involved when the child is born. If the father refuses to be a part of the child’s life after birth, the mother can take legal actions for him to help out with child expenses, but nothing can be done to force an emotional or physical bond.
Absent fathers are a common but sensitive topic. The term “absent father” refers to the non-involvement of a father, during pregnancy and/or after the child has been born. What do you do when a father wants nothing to do with an unborn baby?
You may feel devastated, alone, and unsure when you go through your pregnancy solo. Continue reading as we go through the hardships of being a single mother, how you can potentially bring the father back into your child’s life, and when you need to accept the situation and move on.
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Trying to Get the Father to be Present During Pregnancy
When you find out you’re pregnant, your first call is probably to your baby’s father (if he wasn’t already there when you took the test). If the pregnancy was unplanned or unexpected, chances are he will be just as overwhelmed and confused as you are. This could be significantly worse if you are not on good terms or have terminated the relationship.
You could decide to give them some time for the news to sink in and become a reality. People’s first reactions aren’t always their best moments, and unwelcome thoughts may come to mind.
After giving the father some time to process the news, he may be more willing to support you with your decision. However, pressuring him won’t do any good, and you need to focus on what would be best for you and your unborn child.
There are only so much different things you can try to get the father on board; sometimes, you have to accept the situation for what it is, even if it’s not the outcome you want.
The Hardships of Going Through Pregnancy Alone
A survey showed that one in every five mothers-to-be is left by the fathers of their baby before giving birth, with one out of three mothers having to go through labor alone with no support at all.
Sadly, it’s a massive group and with about 40% of children living with their mothers only, it becomes apparent that the number of non-existent fathers is only climbing exponentially.
But, when you are left in this situation, the thought of navigating the future of yourself and your baby and bearing this huge responsibility alone could become overbearing.
Let’s take a look at all the challenges a soon-to-be mother needs to consider when their partner wants nothing to do with their unborn baby:
A Lack of Practical Support from the Father
If you will also be the sole financial provider for your child, you need to decide during the early stages of your pregnancy if you will use a daycare center, nanny, friend or trusted relative to look after and care for your child while you need to return to work.
This is one of the main struggles of single mothers, as they need to provide food, childcare, pay the rent, and look after the child’s needs without any meaningful support from the father.
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A Lack of Financial Support from the Father
If you find yourself in the difficult situation of being unexpectedly pregnant and single, you may be worried about the added financial pressure that one more mouth to feed could create.
You need to be prepared and you may obtain some form of child support or maintenance for the child from the father, no matter if you are married or not.
You will need a court order or to get child protective services involved if the father rejects any other kind of verbal communication or agreement.
However, while you are pregnant, you may also ask for financial support with your pregnancy expenses, such as medical expenses and preparing for your baby’s arrival.
A father has a duty to support his biological child and the pregnant mother, and his duties will continue until the child steps into the adult world or is 18 years of age.
You can either ask for maintenance verbally, or if the communication is restricted, you can go to the maintenance court, and upon providing proof of paternity, you will be helped. This situation is obviously more complicated if the father has no income or leaves the country.
A Lack of Emotional Support from the Father
You need to consider that you are on the exciting journey of parenthood, but also grieving the loss of an emotional relationship.
However, now that you know that your ex-partner or spouse said he does not want anything to do with your baby, you already know his intentions and views upfront.
Many single mothers are left to grieve twice when their partners leave before the birth of their baby. They are left with the disappointment of being a single mother and also losing an emotional relationship and important support person.
Related Reading: Why Does My Child’s Father “Hate” Me?
No Support During Birth from the Father
You are probably aware that birthing a baby is no walk in the park, and you need to prepare for birth support now that you are aware the father will not provide support for you.
If you live alone, you need somebody to call when you enter labor, to drive you to the hospital and accompany you for the birth. You need to choose somebody you trust, participate in antenatal classes with the chosen labor partner, and be prepared for when the time comes!
Whether you have close friends and family or not, you must consider that you need to be your own support structure during your birth. If you do not have a trusted friend or family member, or they live too far away to be a practical option, you can also hire a doula who will be your support system during pregnancy, labor, and the immediate post-natal period.
Deciding to Become a Single Mother
When you decide that you will walk the path of becoming a single mother, you need to hold on to the saying, “it’s my life and my choice.”
If the pregnancy is something you want and are excited about (with or without the involvement of the father), do not let the baby’s father, or anyone else, pressure you into terminating your pregnancy. This is a permanent decision and one that only you can truly make for your own body.
It’s your future, and it is up to you as the mother to decide the best for your baby and yourself.
If you do not want to keep your baby but are opposed to the idea of abortion, you have other options to explore, such as adoption. You may think that your baby’s father will step in once you have given birth, but you should never base your future plans on him.
It would help if you had plans in place that would support you, especially when it comes to your finances. Your baby’s father is required to pay child support.
Although a court cannot force the baby of your father to have an emotional or physical relationship with his child, they can still require them to assist financially. In some states, they can even dock his pay automatically to ensure that you are receiving court-ordered support.
In the ideal situation, your baby’s father will agree to a paternity test. However, if he does not comply, you have the choice to file a civil lawsuit to determine paternity.
In some cases, a paternity test could be done before the baby is born, which would be ideal in such a situation. However, paternity laws differ by state, so it would be best to consult with an attorney specializing in family law in your area.
Never settle for minimal involvement in such a significant family milestone. Become an engaged mother and reap all the tremendous benefits of such a crucial time in your life. Never be hard on yourself for the things you can’t do or control.
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If you are pregnant, you need to nurture your growing baby. Ensure you make all the necessary preparations to care for this little life. It may be difficult at times, but remember that you can do this, and you are enough, even if you do not have the support from your baby’s father!
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.